The following letter received by Mrs. Owen Anderson from her husband, a Franklin boy, will be of interest to his many friends here. We reproduced it from the Carson, North Dakota Times.
Somewhere in England, June 4, 1918
Dear Frances: –I wrote a few lines yesterday and will attempt to scribble a few more today. This is a wonderful day—sun is shining bright and all we have to do is lay around and bask in it.
Most of the boys have gone to town but I did not care go as I saw most of everything yesterday. I didn’t tell you about seeing the Old Round Table about which we have all read. Well, I saw the Round Table and the names of the Knights all carved on it. The building itself is very old and made of rock. I also saw the west gate. It is still standing. At one time it was one way to get into the town when there was a wall all around it.
This city used to be the capital of England before London (Editor’s Note: Winchester). We also saw the statue of Alfred the Great. It stands in the middle of Main street. The streets here are narrow and also the sidewalks. The people walk in the streets as much as the walks. Everybody walks. The girls are all working in shops and fields and all kinds of manual labor. They all wear uniforms. The men are all gone except the very old men and young boys and those that are wounded.
America did not understand the conditions of this war. If they had they would not have had to draft men. They could not understand unless they were over here. If Germany won this war, it would have battled America.
A little way from our camp is an old Roman stronghold, one of the last they had. I don’t suppose this is of much interest to you, but if you were here it would be. I would not be so interested either, only I had read of it and thought it was all “bosh”, but it is so, I guess. I am going to dinner so will stop for now.
Somewhere in France, June 7, 1918.
The last time I wrote you we were in England and am now in France. This is another beautiful country. It seems terrible to think they are destroying so much of it. We don’t know how lucky we are to be living in a country like America. You ought to see the people here for they are so much different than at home. The children just about mob us for a penny or for lunch we have. The poor things are about starved I suppose.
We are in a rest camp here, don’t have to do anything but eat, sleep and stand inspection. They tell us that we go somewhere to our permanent camp.
I wish that I could tell you all we see but its against the rules. Will try and remember what I cannot impart and tell you on my return. It is simply wonderful.
Had my hair clipped today. It is more sanitary and not so hard to keep clean, and as every camp is short of water it promotes cleanliness. I never felt any better than I do now. The weather is grand, days are warm and the evenings rather cool. We have plenty of blankets though to keep comfortable.
Somewhere in France, June 18, 1918
We, we have finally “lit” I thought for a while we never would get stopped: We had quite a ride on a train—they are so queer here. The engines are so small and go like the dickens at times. The cars are about one-fourth the size of ours. Seems funny they stay on the tract for any length of time. We have a dandy location here. The people are awfully queer. They look at us though we were strange animals, but nevertheless they are quite friendly. None of them speak English so it is hard to get anything. I went down to a farm house last night to buy a canteen of milk and had to take the lady out and show her the cow before I could make her understand. It was the first milk I have had since leaving the States and it sure tasted good.
I don’t think we could have get a better location. The sun shines bright as a crystal every day. It doesn’t get as hot as you might think, just right to work in the open air. It looks as though we will be in this country for some time, but time flies when you are working.
We had quite a treat last night. While in the States we had a company fund, and before we left spent the money for candy and tobacco. We opened the box last evening and sold the stuff. It went fine, especially the candy tasted good. It’s quite a treat over here where you can’t get chocolate. Now don’t worry, am feeling fine and ill write more regular from now on.
Yours, Owen Anderson